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Noteworthy | 9.02.2011

As we enter September the announcements and excitement is at fever pitch. Here at Scrapbook Update, Editor Nancy Nally has been busily restoring the site after a catastrophic server failure. While this week has been noteworthy around here for reasons we wish it wasn’t, the scrapbook industry is booming with wonderful things this week! Blogs are bursting with new inspiration as CHA released products hit shelves fast and furiously, new design teams are being formed, and so much more. Here are some of the most noteworthy items of the week:

Rhonna Farrer has been designing beautiful scrapbooking products for many years, and after House of 3 closed, I had hoped to see her branch out on her own. Over the summer she has offered some beautiful digital designs on her blog, and recently put out a call for design team members.

This week she announced her new creative team, and now her website has been re-designed and is open for business with digital designs perfect for digital or hybrid crafting. She announced the details of the new shop on her blog, and stressed that her goal is to uplift & inspire through digital designs and project inspiration.

Speaking of project inspiration, Hambly Studios posted a simple tutorial of how to use washi tapes to create custom banners. Finding a way to use multiple bits of the tape in such a different way is refreshing and I can’t believe I never thought of it! Expanding on their idea, I’m now inspired to punch or die cut shapes from paper that has been covered with tape. A second project using the technique was posted this week on Hambly’s blog on as well. I predict we’ll be seeing a lot of washi tape banners all around the internet!

This week Becky Higgins shared news and images of the new 2012 Project Life designs, Cobalt and Clementine. She shares many photos of the new product designs and promises that there is still a lot more to come. Last Friday she revealed the images of the new binders, and also announced that from now on the albums will be made by We R Memory Keepers.

They are absolutely a leader in binders and albums. And because they’re making our albums, this means you can expect nothing less than … the very best. I’ve been personally using We R binders for all of our family scrapbooks for nearly 10 years.

Higgins answers a lot about the new binders in her post, including the target date for availability late this year.

A new on-line event is coming the weekend of October 20-22. “Spawn of True Scrap” is now open for registration. The event features 17 instructors who each are bringing a new class (presented in video format), make ‘n takes, and more. The instructors include Jennifer McGuire, Nic Howard, Shimelle Laine, and many more – myself included. For more information or to register visit the Spawn of True Scrap site.

Die Cuts with a View announced that they are releasing a number of new paper pads through Michael’s. Don’t look for their name on the product though – it’s being released under Michael’s in-house brand name, Recollections. In the blog post, the company explained:

Basically, these stacks are designed & produced by us at DCWV and sold under Michael’s own private brand, Recollections. We were honored to be chosen to represent them in this way! To us, it means they love working with us as a company and they LOVE our designs :) What could be more flattering??

The first of the new paper designs are available now, with more designs coming in the next few weeks.

Finally this week, I will share some noteworthy new releases. Pink Paislee’s Nantucket and Phantom collections have been spotted on store shelves. Also in stores some of the new Doodlebug bakers twines and the bakers twine inspired “doodle twine” alphabet stickers that have been anxiously awaited by the Scrapbook Update staff and many others.

“Noteworthy” is a new regular weekly column at Scrapbook Update. Have something new & noteworthy to share? Feel free to leave a comment, or if you have something you would like considered for next week’s column, email may@scrapbookupdate.com with a link or press release.

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CHA Summer 2011 | Die Cuts with a View, Glitz Designs, Grant Studios, Little Yellow Bicycle, and SEI

It’s ironic that the Die Cuts with a View booth is in one of Scrapbook Update’s final posts since its upside-down Christmas tree is the first thing that all CHA Summer attendees saw as they descended the steps to the show floor.

Yes, I did say upside down Christmas tree!
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This tree and the others in the booth were covered in the most gorgeous paper decorations, made from both old and new DCWV lines.

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Die Cuts with a View introduced a new line of personal stationery and decorative office items at the CHA Summer 2011 show.

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“‘Tis the Season” and “Midnight Spell” (partially cut off in the photo) are two of DCWV’s back-catalog items on display.

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My time at Glitz Designs was short, but I found so many lovely things in the short time I was there.

The “Beautiful Dreamer” line is a lovely pink-dominated collection with a sweet floral motif.

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I simply adore Glitz’s “Teeny Alpha” stickers!!

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These ephemera packs are from the “Vintage Blue” collection, as are the handmade flowers in the photo below them.

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Australian company Grant Studios displayed two main product lines at the show – a range of children’s craft projects and some lovely papers by designer Grace Taylor.

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Some of the designs in their lines are really lovely, such as this yellow sheet with a white doily print.

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Many of Grant Studios’ papers are available individually, but they also produce 100 sheet paper pads with many of the same patterns.

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This grey and black print was quite lovely and sophisticated.

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Grant Studios offers a range of packaged die cuts, as well.

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Shortly before leaving for CHA, I asked Scrapbook Update readers to chime in and let me know what they were most interested in seeing at the show. Several readers specifically requested to see Little Yellow Bicycle’s “Winter Twig” line.

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I have to stop here for a moment and give a quick shout-out to Judy at SEI (the next booth on our tour). She gave me a wonderful overview of the new product lines!

SEI’s fall line, “Homestead,” features a rich orange, yellow and brown color scheme with an abundance of foil accents.

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SEI’s Valentine’s Day line, “Promise Me”, is set to release in November 2011.

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“Holiday Cheer” has one of the brightest color schemes of any of the Christmas releases that I saw at the show and is full of festive fun!

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Cool blues and soothing browns are the hallmarks of SEI’s winter themed line, “Silver Valley”.

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SEI’s “White Elegance” collection is a back catalog item, but totally worth mentioning here for its unique resist effects. It doesn’t completely resist the ink, but instead the glossy and non-glossy portions of the paper absorb ink at different rates yielding a two-tone effect.

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SEI also had their line of wearable art items on display including their “Tumble Dye” mists. Papercrafters may be interested in these for home decor and party projects- just look at those gorgeous misted tissue paper flowers!

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There’s just one more post left in Scrapbook Update’s CHA booth coverage! We’ll be back soon to bring you the rest of what we saw at the show.

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DCWV Acquires Blue Moon Beads From Bankrupt Westrim

Die Cuts With A View announced Friday, June 10th, that they have acquired the assets and intellectual property of the Blue Moon Beads brand from Westrim, Inc., which filed for Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy on April 29th.

Westrim had previously divested itself of scrapbook brands Westrim, Autumn Leaves, DMD and Crop In Style in February 2010 by selling them to ANW/Crestwood. (To be clear: the Westrim product line is no longer associated with Creativity, Inc. subsidiary Westrim, Inc., which is the company that filed bankruptcy in April.) At the time of that sale, Westrim, Inc. cited a desire to focus on growing its Blue Moon Beads brand as the reason for the transaction. However, bankruptcy court records now reveal that the Blue Moon brand was also put up for sale almost immediately upon the closing of the sale of the scrapbook brands to ANW/Crestwood.

Bankruptcy paperwork filed by Westrim on April 29th indicates the sale of Blue Moon’s assets to DCWV was already in progress at that time, and that completing the transaction was necessary to prevent the company filing for a Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy. Court filings say the Chapter 11 filing was necessary even with the impending sale to create time for the transaction to occur, and for creating a clear title to Blue Moon for completing its sale to DCWV. The company apparently plans to use the proceeds from the sale of Blue Moon to essentially liquidate itself out-of-court and reimburse its creditors and shareholders.

Blue Moon Beads will operate as a division of Utah-based DCWV, Inc. The majority of its operations will continue to be run out of its existing California offices.

Mike Hill, CEO of DCWV Inc., said, “We see this acquisition as a natural progression for the company as it further solidifies our position as an industry leader in design and innovation.  It underscores our commitment to diversifying our product offerings while maintaining the highest level of standards with regard to quality, functionality and aesthetics.”

“We believe Blue Moon Beads is an ideal fit for DCWV, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with them,” said Nancy Hill, founder of DCWV Inc. “Not only are we adding a great line of new products to our existing line of DCWV products, we also have the privilege of assuming a great team of experienced and seasoned professionals.  This is a very exciting time for our company.”

Court filings indicate Blue Moon Beads was purchased for $2.5 million in immediate cash payments, a $250,000 payment due in 2012, and then as much as $12.5 million in earn-out payments depending on sales in 2011 and 2012.

Blue Moon Beads is heavily dependent on contracts from Michaels Stores according to bankruptcy court filings. DCWV is well-known in the crafts industry for its paper products, especially their paper stacks and boxes of cards, which are widely available in craft chain stores. Combining the brands may allow for reduction of costs in areas of infrastructure that are required for dealing with the large chain stores, while also broadening the market base of DCWV, which has been heavily tied to the paper crafts market. Several other paper crafts companies, such as Making Memories and EK Success, have expanded into the bead market in recent years with mixed results.

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New iPhone Apps for Scrapbooking

A whole slate of new iPhone apps from scrapbooking manufacturers have come out recently. Here’s a look at all of them together in one place!

iTunes doesn’t seem to know what to do with scrapbooking apps – the first app below appears in the Lifestyle section, while the others are in the Photography section. And not all of the apps can be found by searching “scrapbook” either. So it seems there is no easy way to keep up-to-date on available scrapbook apps in the store.

CSS Daily by Clear & Simple Stamps ($4.99)

This app is – to me, anyway – absolutely gorgeous in its simplicity.

CSS Daily functions essentially as a “page a day” calendar, with a new project idea every day made with Clear & Simple Stamps. But you don’t have to have a huge collection (or even any) of the company’s stamps to get inspiration from these ideas.

The project screen starts by displaying the project sample at the top. However, if you scroll down there is a button that will take you to a second screen with instructions and a supply list (including direct links to items on the Clean & Simple Stamps website for purchasing them). The projects I’ve seen in the several days that I’ve had the app are beautiful examples of cards that definitely fit the “clean & simple” style, but which could also be created with supplies on hand.

Besides the project idea function, this app only has two other tabs: one that gives a brief profile of the company, and one that lists the company’s social media and web addresses.

Users will likely have two complaints about this app. First, it may be somewhat overpriced for an app of simple function that is basically a marketing tool for the company that created it. The average listed price of a paid app in the app store is $3.63, according to recent analysis. Three-quarters of the apps that are downloaded are free apps, however, and the average price has been falling in the app store.  iPhone users are very intolerant of high prices and this app may be overpriced for their taste.

The other possible complaint about the app is that there is no way built into it to store the daily ideas for later use. One idea is available each day, and then it disappears and is replaced by another. Perhaps this would be good functionality to add in an update. In the meantime, users can hack half a solution to this problem by using the screen capture feature on their iPhone to capture the image of any item they really love to save for later in their phone’s camera photo roll. This could even be done with supply lists, although of course the purchase links won’t work in the screen captures.

(To do a screen capture with your iPhone, click the home and power button at the same moment and release them quickly. You will hear a click and see a flash as the content of your screen at that moment is captured and sent to you camera roll of photos.)

All in all, it is fun to see on a daily basis what this app will have in it for inspiration. Checking it on my phone provides a stolen scrapbooking moment in the middle of other tasks or errands. With a few improvements, it could be a truly great app, and in the meantime it is still fun.

Bazzil Basics Paper by Paul Schreiber ($9.99)

Paul Schreiber, who is listed as the seller of this app, is the IT Director at Bazzill. The app is designed as a reference guide to the palette of Bazzill cardstocks, and as a tool for matching a photo to coordinating cardstock colors.

This app, with its reference libraries of all of the colors that you’d think could replace Bazzill’s hefty swatch books, almost has the potential to be incredibly useful. But it runs up against a problem: the technical limitations of the iPhone’s screen and camera. The screen isn’t capable of displaying fine color differences, especially in lighter colors. A good example of this is the Classic palette, where four colors display on the screen as visually white although on close examination of their details their RGB codes are slightly different:

The concept of the color matching to a photo was great but I was unable in working with several photos to get a palette that looked like it was anywhere near accurate to the actual photo as I saw it on the screen. In one photo, trying to match items that were pink and orange on the screen resulted in suggestions of bright red cardstocks by the app.

The most useful part of this app may be that it supplies the RGB and CMYK codes for each Bazzill color, making it easier to match a printed item like journaling to a cardstock that you may be using. This matching of course will be limited by the color accuracy of your printer in producing the code that you put into it, but having the right code to start with will at least give you a good starting point.

Another useful feature is the suggested palettes that are built into the listings for the individual colors. There are suggestions for monochromatic, complementary, triadic, analogous, and split-complementary palettes. Favorite palettes can be named and saved to a library for later reference. The individual color listings also have a link to an image that shows the texture of the paper – a good reference for use ordering online, although some of the images are better than other at conveying the actual appearance of the texture.

The Bazzill app, with its $9.99 price tag, is another one that potentially will run afoul of the price sensitivity of app store customers. Its scope is ambitious but until the display and camera technology catches up with the design, its usefulness is handicapped.

eScrap by Die Cuts With A View ($1.99)

The most reasonably priced app of the three reviewed here, this is also perhaps a case of “you get what you pay for”.

eScrap has two major functions (besides a hugely prominent button linking to the company’s 300dpi.com site). Both the functions are ways to design miniature scrapbook pages for use as iPhone wallpaper or for sharing on social sites. Pages can be created from scratch using different paper sets in the “Design A Page” section, or using pre-designed templates in the “Quick Pages” tool section.

The design tools are actually pretty user-friendly and the library to work with is quite nice – with one exception. The photo management and manipulation in this app is almost unusable. Photos are often inserted distorted in the wrong aspect ratio. In the Quick Pages, you get one attempt to insert a photo. If you change your mind or it inserts wrong, you have to start completely over. In the Design A Page section, attempts to move a photo to a new position than where it was automatically inserted often result in the photo disappearing to a position behind the background (from where I was never able to retrieve any of them).

DailyDigi by Point About, Inc (Free)

This free app is by the Daily Digi website. Like the CSS Daily app, it keeps its function simple. It basically has five different pages that offer different types of content for browsing. The Daily Digi blog and Twitter stream occupy two of the slots. Two others are filled with projects for inspiration from various sources.

A final section is filled with the excerpted feeds of a large selection of scrapbook and photography-related blogs (Scrapbook Update included) with the most current entries at the top. A click on the brief excerpt takes the reader to the full article on the actual blog if the user finds a headline they want to read the full story of.

Items in most of the sections can be emailed, tweeted or viewed in a browser instead of the app if desired.

This is an aesthetically beautiful app, and doesn’t stumble over overly-ambitious design. It just flat out works and it aggregates good content into a fun and easy way to browse through it. DailyDigi also gets the pricing right by setting it at free for an app that largely contains their own content that could also be consumed free on the web. They seem to correctly recognize that the app is a marketing expense that will pay off by keeping users more engaged with their site and their content, instead of using it as a direct profit-maker.

iPhone apps are gaining momentum in the scrapbooking market. These (and the Scrapbooks Etc app released last summer) are just the beginning.

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CHA Supershow Anaheim 2010 Saturday Highlights

Saturday was the 2nd day of the consumer CHA Supershow in Anaheim, which preceded the opening of the CHA tradeshow this morning. Here’s a look at a few highlights from the day yesterday:

Heidi Grace Kress was hosting make-n-takes first thing in the morning at the Ever After Scrapbooks booth using her new Colorbök product.

One retailer was selling Copic markers for an incredible $2.69/each, and had this selection of Strathmore Artist Trading Cards paper bases were on sale Buy One, Get One Free. There was Canvas, Illustration Board, Watercolor Paper, and other materials cut into bases for ATC’s, as well as envelopes and plastic cases for them. I’d never seen these before and snapped up a selection to play with!

Stacy Julian appeared at the Treasured Memories booth to promote her new scrapbooking kits, and was handing out little bottles of emergency sprinkles in case a CHA-er comes across a brownie that doesn’t have sprinkles on it.

Cricut has a new machine called the Cricut Cake which is essentially a version of the Expression machine that has been specially fitted on the inside to handle food. Specifically it cuts thin sugar sheets and thicker fondant for cake decorating. More details (and pictures!) coming in separate post!

“Inside Edition” host Deborah Norville made an appearance to promote her new knitting book, “Knit with Deborah Norville“. She was also giving impromptu knitting lessons about how to do the technique for the mitten that she was working on at the signing table.

Die Cuts With a View had a computer lab set up in their booth to let people get hands-on with their new digital products at 300dpi.com.

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Scrapbook Update CHA Winter 2010 Predictions

Well, the show is almost upon us…many people have already arrived in Anaheim and the rest of us are frantically preparing. Here’s a last-minute look at what I predict are some trends we’ll be seeing when the doors open on Sunday:

1. It’s all about die cutting.

Die cutting, both manual and electronic will be a hot topic at this year’s show. On the manual side, new exhibitor Dies Direct is a die maker (and involved peripherally in the Spellbinders suit versus Quickutz). New exhibitor Scrapping Cottage is also an independent die maker. Sizzix is introducing hotly-anticipated dies by designer Tim Holtz. Several other companies are coming out with embossing folders that there is much buzz about.

The electronic die side is the really hot category, though. Silhouette America, formerly a division of Quickutz, is another new exhibitor. They are there to display their electronic die cutter. Craftwell – yet another new exhibitor – will also be there to display an electronic die cutter. Sizzix isn’t a new exhibitor but they have a new machine coming called the eClips. Cricut also has been teasing a major announcement, and Making Memories has new products coming for its Slice line.

2. We’re going green.

Several companies were promoting their green certifications or initiatives at CHA-Summer and that will definitely continue at CHA-Winter 2010. Everything from eco-friendly production to eco-friendly booths like the one boasted by Sandylion at CHA-Summer 2009 will be more visible. In fact, one of the new exhibitors, Eco Green Crafts, boasts that it is devoted to supplies made from “non-toxic, recycled, and environmentally-friendly materials.”

3. We’re going patriotic.

A few companies were promoting products at the last show as being “Made in the USA.” Even more companies were selling U.S.-made products but not promoting their origin heavily. As the economy has sunk further and further, Americans have become more concerned about the purchasing of foreign products. “Buy local” is becoming a serious movement. Expect to see more companies who make their products domestically using that fact in their marketing.

4. It’s all about stamping.

Stamping is hot, hot, hot! We saw the start of this in Orlando, with stamp manufacturers doing big business, scrapbook manufacturers releasing extensive collections of stamps as part of their collections, and booths like Paper Trey Ink and Split Coast Stampers attracting huge crowds at the Supershow. At least a half-dozen new exhibitors in Anaheim are stamp companies, and many traditional scrapbooking companies will be emphasizing their stamp offerings.

5. Paper is reborn as digital.

In the past several weeks, two major manufacturers have announced initiatives to sell their older paper catalog designs in digital format: BasicGrey and Die Cuts With A View. Over a dozen other companies are involved in ScrapHD, an effort under construction to sell their designs in a digital format.

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